London calling

The kind of vitriolic statement that Altaf Hussain has given will do little to ease the party’s plight


Editorial July 14, 2015
It is probably futile to urge the MQM leadership to dial back on the rhetoric, and whether it likes it or not, the clean-up must go ahead PHOTO: MQM FACEBOOK PAGE

Once again, there are cries of ‘foul’ — to say nothing of foul cries — emanating from the leader of the MQM, Altaf Hussain, based in London. His plaint is so worded as to have considerably ruffled the feathers of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, to the point at which he proclaimed that enough was enough and that it was time to talk formally to the British government. Altaf Hussain was railing against the actions of the Rangers and his language was indeed more than usually intemperate. The quite volatile situation in the city requires calm heads and wise words, but the MQM leadership has failed in this regard so far. The government has every right to feel aggrieved, but it is unlikely that it will find much by way of easement in meeting the British High Commissioner, as it does not appear that any British civil or criminal laws were broken, no matter how inflammatory the speech may have been.

The party leadership has sailed very close to the wind, but thus far has been able to avoid prosecution at least in respect of its statements — whilst the small matter of large and unaccountable sums of money found at the residences of MQM leaders in the UK remains another matter entirely. The kind of vitriolic statement that Altaf Hussain has given will do little to ease the party’s plight. What could help the MQM is identifying the alleged criminal elements within its folds and ejecting them. Having said that, rightly or wrongly, a perception has developed that cleansing the country of terrorism and criminality is limited to Sindh only. The problem is nationwide and not only in Sindh. A similarly firm approach needs to be taken in every other province, including Punjab and especially in the south of that province, which is known to harbour extremist elements — elements that appear to lead a charmed life. It is probably futile to urge the MQM leadership to dial back on the rhetoric, and whether it likes it or not, the clean-up must go ahead.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th,  2015.

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COMMENTS (3)

S.R.H. Hashmi | 5 years ago | Reply The language of Altaf Hussain against Rangers may be indeed be intemperate but what can the head of a party do all of whose complaints have failed to have any effect. Very many of the leaders and anchor persons repeatedly say that it was MQM which had demanded and agreed on the Karachi operations. However, one thing that they never mention is that right in the beginning, it was also agreed that a committee of independent persons of repute will be formed to oversee the operation so as to ensure that the operation was conducted in an unbiased manner. However, despite many promises and even visits made to Karachi by Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to Karachi said to be specifically for the purpose of forming the committee, the proposed committee never got made. And in the meantime, MQM leaders claim that out of hundreds of their workers picked up, some were killed extra-judicially while no information is available about the fate or whereabouts of dozens of other MQM members sated to have been picked up by the law enforcers. And according to Waseem Akhtar, the MQM workers who are ultimately released suffer extreme torture and some of them even made impotent. I remember during earlier operations against the MQM, a favourite ploy of the law enforcers was to subject the persons apprehended to CHEERA (splitting of the legs beyond the physical limits, with the person made impotent). MQM leaders also complain of media trial whereby when the persons are taken into custody, lot of damaging statements are made against them but when some of them are ultimately charge, it is nowhere near what the persons were accused of. And while nobody would object to arresting people against whom some criminal evidence exists, the Rangers recent statement, whereby they announced their intention to target Unit and Sector incharges of MQM can be seen as nothing but an attempt to destroy the party structure with the ultimate aim of eliminating it. Even in the past attempts were made by the authorities to destroy MQM and to promote Haqiqi to take its place. With bitter memory of past operations against MQM, and seeing even the recent operation turning out much the same way, MQM and all its leaders including Altaf Hussain have reasons to be apprehensive. And seeing the siege against them being made tighter with each passing day, and expecting tomorrow to be much worse than today, yesterday or the day before, while all their complaints and protests remaining ineffectual, how else could one expect MQM leaders, or anyone else in their place, to behave? Today’s Dawn carries a report titled ‘No unregistered madressah sealed in Karachi, many other districts.’ The report states the number of unregistered madressas closed in the province and quotes a figure of 139 for Hyderabad and 28 in Benazirabad. However, none of the unregistered madressas have been closed in Karachi, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur and Larkana. And of the 579 unregistered madressah in Karachi, two dozens are allegedly involved in extremism. And while Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon was busy, enthusiastically demolishing illegally built marriage halls, no such action has been taken against illegally built madressas and their construction continues unabated. Shockingly, the reason for the lack of action against these institutions was stated to be the fear of their street power and the support they get from some political and religious parties which have made them arrogant and confident enough to be able to put stiff resistance to any attempt to restrain and discipline them in any way. Just contrast this conduct with that of the MQM workers who offer no resistance at all. Having done enough work against MQM, I think it is definitely time for law enforcers to muster some courage and proceed against extremists among the madressas who present a far greater – rather an existential – threat to Pakistan. It would be a shame if the law enforcers were to continue ignoring the threat from extremists madressah because of their own fear of stiff resistance from them and instead unleash their full might and fury against MQM workers and members, simply because they put up no resistance and it is just a walkover. Karachi
curious2 | 5 years ago | Reply The problem is nationwide and not only in Sindh. A similarly firm approach needs to be taken in every other province, including Punjab and especially in the south of that province, which is known to harbour extremist elements — elements that appear to lead a charmed life . Something that probably should have been front page on ET and every other newspaper for many years now. Better late than never.
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